It’s no surprise that after becoming dads, Millennial men start buying different products, like diapers, formula and onesies. But a new study finds that fatherhood has a transformative effect on nearly everything guys buy after a little one arrives.
The study, created by shopper marketing agency Geometry Global, found that 41% of new fathers are likely to switch brands when preparing to become a parent, or as soon as they do. The percentage wasn’t far off from mothers, 43% of whom said the same thing.
Both fathers and mothers cited health as their primary motive for changing brands. According to the study, 43% of fathers surveyed said they changed brands because they wanted organic products, 39% said they did so because they didn’t want artificial additives and 33% said they switched to brands that were allergen-free.
For women, the percentages were similar: 39% said they switched brands for organic products, 41% said they went with brands that had no artificial additives and 28% said they went allergen-free.
New parents are also likely to change where they shop. Among men, the most popular reason for switching stores was proximity to home (40%); the most popular reason among women was price (56%). Thirty-five percent of both moms and dad said they switched stores in search of local products.
For the study, Geometry Global surveyed 645 parents between the ages of 18 and 35 who have children 13 years old and younger. Of the parents, 317 were fathers, while 328 were mothers.
"I call these fathers ‘in the now Dads’—they are very ‘now’ in the contemporary way they approach parenting and shopping," said Marta LaRock, chief strategy officer at Geometry Global, which is part of WPP. She said the study should help guide marketers in how they approach young dads. "Marketers are missing a trick when it comes to relating to Millennial fathers. Brands need to truly understand what motivates all their consumers if they want to inspire them to buy their products."
The study also looked at who did the shopping in a Millennial household. When it comes to school supplies, child’s clothing and toys, about 50% of fathers surveyed believe they share these responsibilities with their wives. Mothers, on the other hand, were more likely to say that they are the ones responsible. In fact, nearly 70% of mothers surveyed said it falls on them to shop for their children.
"We know that having a baby changes your life, but this research shows that this change extends to shopping behavior too," said LaRock. "And what is most interesting to me is that fathers appear to change even more than mothers in some ways."
When shopping for groceries, fathers spend more than mothers, the study found. On average, fathers spend $173 every trip to the grocery store, whereas mothers spend an average of $149. In total, 33% of mothers and fathers said they go grocery shopping five or more times a month.
Fathers also tend to spend 15% more than mothers on household supplies. The fathers surveyed said they spend an average of $97, while mothers said they spend an average of $72. The majority of fathers and mothers said they go shopping for household supplies two or three times a month.
"Make no mistake, these are not ‘men in aprons’ or Dads doing exactly what mothers have always done," said LaRock. "No, they are interpreting parenting for themselves and choosing their own path."